Date
24 March 2017
MTR has kicked off a trial scheme that allows people to carry some large musical instruments on trains. However, the program comes with many conditions, causing unhappiness among musicians. Photo: HKEJ
MTR has kicked off a trial scheme that allows people to carry some large musical instruments on trains. However, the program comes with many conditions, causing unhappiness among musicians. Photo: HKEJ

Musicians call for boycott of new MTR permit scheme

MTR Corporation’s trial registration scheme on carriage of large musical instruments has come under intense criticism, with some groups labeling the terms and conditions of the program as an insult.

Amid unhappiness over the rules, some musicians and music teachers, among others, have urged the public to boycott the scheme, which was launched on Monday, Apple Daily reported.

Mavis Lung Man-wai, a yanqin teacher who started a protest at Tai Wai MTR station through a Facebook campaign last month, was among those who said the new permit system should be shunned.

Under the regulations, MTR staff can demand an inspection of the items that people carry and also ask a permit holder to produce identity documents.

Meanwhile, the rail operator is exempt from liability for any damage caused to an instrument during the course of checks.

“The rules are even harsher than what one is subject to when taking a flight,” Lung wrote in a Facebook post, urging people not to apply for the special permits.

Under the new scheme, the total dimension — length, width plus height — of allowed instruments has been extended to 235 centimeters, with a 145 cm limit for each side.

The rules mean that a standard guzheng, which is 163 cm in height, cannot be carried on trains even under the special registration scheme.

Mok Wai-leung, president of Hong Kong Zheng Art, said the rule could cause difficulties for students.

Students would normally leave their guzhengs at school, but they will need to carry them if they have to participate in competitions or other events, Mok said.

Problems will arise especially during the annual Hong Kong Schools Music Festival.

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BT/DY/RC

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